New hosts for the CONNECTED Network!
We are delighted to announce that, from 1st October 2023, the CONNECTED Network will be jointly hosted by the International Institute for Tropical Agriculture (IITA) and the International Livestock Research Institute (IRLI).
CONNECTED, currently with over 1670 members in 97 countries, has recently been funded by the Bristol Centre for Agricultural Innovation (BCAI) through the University of Bristol. However, this ceases at the end of September 2023. Determined to ensure a sustainable future for CONNECTED, the Network Team issued an open call for new stakeholder hosts. Following review and ratification by the international CONNECTED Management Board, we are delighted to announce that from 1st October the CONNECTED Network, website, resources and membership, will be jointly hosted by the International Institute for Tropical Agriculture (IITA) and the International Livestock Research Institute (IRLI). The winning bid was developed and submitted by Dr Lava Kumar (Head of the Germplasm Health, Virology and Molecular Diagnostics Units at the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), Ibadan, Nigeria) and Dr Cathrine Ziyomo (Business Development Specialist leading the Biosciences for Africa (B4A) program at ILRI, Nairobi, Kenya). IITA is an award-winning, research-for-development organization, providing solutions to hunger, poverty, and the degradation of natural resources in Africa. ILRI work across Africa and Asia to improve food security and reduce poverty through research. The CONNECTED Network team have worked in partnership with IITA and ILRI from the outset, co-creating resources and co-delivering training events together. Both these international organisations are part of the Consortium of International Agricultural Research Centers (CGIAR), one of the largest agriculture and food-related research organisations in the world.
We believe CONNECTED will have a strong and sustainable future with IITA and ILRI within CGIAR. The new hosts have a robust and engaging action plan ready to implement upon transfer. Achieving this transition is a huge legacy achievement of the original UK government Global Challenges Research Fund award. The new hosts will continue to equip this global multidisciplinary network of researchers to lead the fight against insect-spread plant viruses that devastate crops, particularly in Sub-Saharan African countries, and enable evidence-based decision-making for the benefit of those who need it most.